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A murderous Hitchcock remake and Viola Davis stuns in 'Widows': This week’s best and biggest on Netflix

Check out Jordan Parker's 'The week's best and biggest on Netflix' every Friday on HalifaxToday.ca
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Check out Jordan Parker's "The week's best and biggest on Netflix" every Friday on HalifaxToday.ca.

Rebecca

From the jump, I think we can all agree that Alfred Hitchcock was, is and always will be the benchmark for gothic horror and suspense.

With that out of the way, perhaps it was foolish for Netflix to commission a remake of Rebecca. But foolish or not, it exists, and more or less, it’s a successful, entertaining endeavour.

It’s up for serious debate if the debonaire Armie Hammer is this generation’s Laurence Olivier, but his stunning swagger and charisma fills every frame of this mystery.

Perhaps most impressive, though, is Lily James as a poor woman who marries a rich man with a haunted past — and a dead first wife — who must deal with the aftermath of their nuptials.

Haunted by his dead wife, Rebecca, and constantly undermined by the woman of the house (played brilliantly by Kristin Scott Thomas), young Mrs. de Winter begins to uncover secrets she never dreamed of.

This is a sexy, interesting and enjoyable film from up-and-comer Ben Wheatley, and while it sticks the landing with some turbulence, the overall trip is well worth it.

3.5/5 Stars

Aquaman

Ah, the movie that brought everyone Jason Momoa in his prime. It may not match the best of the Marvel universe, but this D.C. outing is plenty fun.

The story of Arthur Curry, a man who is the heir to the underwater kingdom Atlantis, revolves around him fighting to keep the peace between the worlds of ocean and land.

Directed with style, wit and aesthetic appeal galore by James Wan, this is an absolutely beautiful film.

Momoa has a huge screen presence, and it’s amazing to watch him become a star in a role that suits him entirely. Amber Heard — surrounded by scandal due to her ugly divorce with Johnny Depp — is serviceable, but doesn’t have the same screen-power as her co-star.

But with Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, and even Dolph Lundgren on board, it’s a heck of a ride. Kudos to Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Manta, as he’s quickly becoming a favourite of mine.

If action and a great time are what you want, Aquaman surely delivers.

4/5 Stars

Widows

Thrillers truly don’t get much better than this caper, featuring an incredible all-woman ensemble in the lead roles.

When their thieving husbands die during a police shootout on their last job, their widows become indebted to criminals for their husbands' transgressions.

They have to take things into their own hands and plan a heist to get the cash to pay off their partners’ debts.

Viola Davis is nothing short of stunning here, with Michelle Rodriguez, the Oscar-worthy Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo each packing a huge punch.

With a supporting cast including heavyweights Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Jacki Weaver, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry and Carrie Coon, this is one of the best ensembles in recent memory.

Written by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn and 12 Years A Slave director — also the director here — Steve McQueen, the pacing, dialogue and plot don’t get much better.

This truly is masterful filmmaking, and one of the most overlooked films of the last five years.

4.5/5 Stars

True History of the Kelly Gang

This 2019 film based on Peter Carey’s incredible novel was one of the big surprises to come out in the last six months.

The story of Ned Kelly and his gang, and their fights with the authorities in the 1800s, is compelling. But it’s the insane direction and colourful scheme put to picture by Justin Kurzel that really makes things shine.

George MacKay may have gotten noticed for war epic 1917, but it’s this film that truly gives him a chance to shine.

Essie Davis, the underrated Nicholas Hoult, Sons Of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam and a grizzled, truly enjoyable Russell Crowe round out the cast.

It’s zany, the storytelling is fantastic and the True History of the Kelly Gang is a film you won’t soon forget.

4/5 Stars

Austin Powers in Goldmember

I’m just going to say it — since I was 10, I have been absolutely, unequivocally in love with the Austin Powers series.

They haven’t aged particularly well for 2020 culture, but my goodness, the character's comedian Mike Myers created in these films will be remembered forever.

This final film in the trilogy follows hippie ladies man Powers as he learns his father has been kidnapped by a villain named Goldmember who is working with Powers’ nemesis Dr. Evil.

He travels back to 1975 to stop the entire chain of events from happening with help from the sidekick and butt-kicking Foxxy Cleopatra.

Does it sound silly? Well, honestly, it is. But sometimes, you need a little bit of a palate cleanser, and the Austin Powers movies, meant to be a spoof of James Bond, are it.

Myers pulls off some incredible things, playing four main characters and co-writing the film. He’s a comedic genius — The Love Guru aside — and a Canadian icon.

Beyoncé comes into her own onscreen for the first time here, and Seth Green, Verne Troyer, Michael Caine and the amazing Mindy Sterling round out the cast.

I absolutely adore this movie, and if you turn off your brain and just let it overtake you for 90 minutes, you will too.

4/5 Stars

Jordan Parker's weekly film reviews can be found on his blog, Parker & The Picture Shows.


About the Author: Jordan Parker

Jordan Parker is a freelance journalist and runs entertainment firm Parker PR. He's been a movie nerd since he was old enough to walk.
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